A coherent team with unshakable determination and a relentless pursuit. These were invaluable aspects displayed by the DLSU Women’s Football Team in its undefeated run to the UAAP Season 79 title. After falling against the UP Lady Maroons and clinching the first runner-up in 2016, the Lasallians remained confident and were fueled by their setback.
In the middle of their run to the title, a number of the team’s members also suited up for the women’s national team in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers. Along with mainstays Inna Palacios and Sara Castaneda, Irish Navaja, Cristine Duran, and Nina Arietta played a part in elevating Philippine football to greater heights.
The team from Taft continued to remain a threat despite losing striker Shannon Arthur to a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). The Lasallians remained lethal as Kyra Dimaandal stepped up to lead their team’s offensive charge.
They swept their six games in the PFF (Philippine Football Federation) Women’s League, which served as a preseason tournament. “Like for last year’s UAAP, we were also on top throughout the whole league, but at the end, we lost, so now we just can’t let it go. We’ll have to keep working hard in every game,” commented Castaneda after they edged the FEU Lady Tamaraws.
The midfielder kept her word as DLSU concluded the UAAP Elimination Round undefeated after eight games, highlighted by 5-0 victories over the ADMU Lady Eagles and the Lady Maroons.
The Lasallians were eventually crowned as the champions of the women’s football tournament after beating the UST Golden Tigresses, 3-1. Palacios, the eventual Best Goalkeeper of the tournament, concluded her collegiate career in style as she stepped up to seal the title with a penalty kick in added time. With 11 goals to her name, Dimaandal was also awarded Best Striker as Castaneda was named Best Midfielder for the second consecutive season. Regine Metillo and Kyla Inquig were named Best Defender and Most Valuable Player, respectively, as La Salle also earned the Fair Play Award to cap off its historic run.
“[An] endless thank you for everyone who supported La Salle—who supported the team. Through thick and thin, you guys were our strength, and we wouldn’t be where we are without everyone,” Palacios concluded.